Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, November 8th. All times are Eastern.
Flesh And Bone (Starz, 8 p.m.): Starz is on something of a hot streak in original programming this year, building and strengthening its roster of shows on the most diverse topics: nightly cable news, professional basketball, 1740s Scottish romance, and middle-aged zombie chainsaw mayhem. Now they’re turning their attention to the craft of dance with Flesh And Bone, an eight-part miniseries set in the world of professional ballet. It’s an unexplored field for TV and made all the more interesting by its pedigree of creator Moira Walley-Beckett, who wrote for a certain show we’re known to be fond of at The A.V. Club (and wrote an episode of that show we’re even more fond of but probably can’t watch ever again). Molly Eichel, no stranger to shows where flesh and bone were frequently on display, is taking the stage for weekly coverage, and we’re expecting her reviews to be fully on point… or en pointe, as it were.
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 7:30 p.m.): It’s time for the Belchers’ 21st favorite day of the year: Thanksgiving! A holiday about family and food is the perfect holiday for this show about family and food, and previous Thanksgiving episodes have been tremendous: Bob drinking too much absinthe and having a Miyazaki-inspired hallucination, Bob popping allergy pills and placing multiple turkeys in the toilet, Bob getting drunk and being oblivious to the madness of the Turkey Trot. Alasdair Wilkins has noticed a pattern (he’s super-smart, that Alasdair) and hopes whatever Bob brought this year, he brought enough to share.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m): Homer meddles in Lisa’s friendship with a rich kid when he grows accustomed to the family’s luxurious lifestyle. It‘s a pain that Dennis Perkins is familiar with, Lisa—people are always trying to be his friend so they can share in that sweet, sweet lavish TV critic lifestyle.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): “Gina helps Amy prepare for an important presentation.” Uh, Amy, Jesse Hassenger hates to have to break it to you, but Gina doesn’t help people. Hers is more of an “enable you in your crazier instincts as long as it’s entertaining for me, and then I’ll lose interest” manner of helping.
Homeland (Showtime, 9 p.m.): “Saul orders a sweep at the station.” We know that it’s probably a sweep for bugs and other clandestine listening devices, but how wonderfully bizarre would it be if Saul just spent the entire episode pushing a broom around the building? If that happened, Joshua Alston would gladly hold the dustpan.
The Last Man On Earth (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Phil and Todd found a moment of bacon-wrapped friendship last week, and that friendship is tested tonight by “an apocalyptic power problem.” Oh, those apocalyptic power problems will always get you. That’s why Vikram Murthi keeps a carefully maintained contingent of generators in his basement.
The Good Wife (CBS, 9:30 p.m.): Eli continues to be at his Eli-est by plotting to release intelligence that could damage Peter’s presidential aspirations and catch Alicia in the crossfire. Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya has come to realize after last week that “the thread weaving most of this season together is made of Gold,” and she understands now that nothing can stop Eli in his goal to watch the world (or at least the Florrick candidacy) burn. He is invincible!
Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m.): Alex continues to try to get to the bottom of the terrorist attack, and “Nimah and Raina provide her with more questions than answers.” Well, that’s what happens when you have to explain to someone that you’ve actually been secret twins this whole time. Joshua Alston could have told you that, Quantico.
Getting On (HBO, 10 p.m.): It’s the third and final season of this dark little HBO comedy set in the Billy Barnes Extended Care Unit, where death is an everyday part of life and the staff have as many problems as their patients. Laurie Metcalf, Niecey Nash, Alex Borstein, and Mel Rodriguez are all back for their final shift, and the premiere’s title—“This Is About Vomit, People”—doesn’t give much indication their work’s about to get any easier or more glamorous.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.)
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.)
The Leftovers (HBO, 9 p.m.)
The Affair (Showtime, 10 p.m.)
The Simpsons (3 p.m.): Kyle Ryan’s going off the grid with his review of “Simpson Tide,” taking it all the way into Russian waters. We tried to negotiate with their ambassador for his return, and it didn’t go very well:
The new Netflix series With Bob And David launches at the end of this week, and we’re so excited that we had to write about it. Erik Adams sits down with the Bob (Odenkirk) and David (Cross) in question to talk about what it was like working together after so long, how the Netflix format changed their creative process, and just what was up each of their asses making Mr. Show. And because that’s not enough writing about sketch comedy for Erik—there’s never enough—he’s kicking off this week’s Watch This series on sketch comedies with The Kids In The Hall.
Madam Secretary (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): Tensions are continuing to rise between the U.S. and Russia, with Elizabeth doing her best to hold things together. If only The A.V. Club had her on our side in those Russian negotiations, Kyle would be home safe and we wouldn’t have inadvertently caused both Lenin and the Berlin Wall to rise from the dead.
Blood And Oil (ABC, 9 p.m.): Everyone’s trying to bring Hap down: if it’s not Wick in collaboration with federal agents, it’s Billy and Emma collaborating with his vengeful ex-wife, or Carla trying to expose his affair. But we’re guessing the former Nash Bridges still has a trick or two up his sleeve.
CSI: Cyber (CBS, 10 p.m.): In tonight’s “Gone In 6 Seconds,” driverless cars enter the world of drag racing and are being used as weapons. Now that’s the plot of a new Fast And Furious sequel if we’ve ever heard one, and given how difficult it’s been to round up a director for any future films, maybe reducing the actors in favor of sentient cars (no, not those) is the way to go.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 11 p.m.): Donald Trump tried to stir up another controversy recently by claiming Last Week Tonight invited him on and he declined, which turned out to be another of his tall tales. Oliver has more important things to cover on his show, like reminding us that presidential elections aren’t the only thing that dictate our fate and educating us on the existence of pangolins.
The Great British Baking Show (PBS, 7 p.m.): It’s the season finale, and the final competitors are going nuts with a three-tiered wedding cake. Make sure to leave room for an entire pan of funeral fudge.
Charming Christmas (Hallmark, 8 p.m.): We almost made this movie (starring Julie Benz of Angel/Dexter/Defiance fame) the top pick this week, because its description is so insane that it loops around to perfect:
Meredith Rossman is the uptight heiress of Rossman’s Department store. She has made the business her entire life, not leaving any time for Christmas or romance, much to the chagrin of her parents. But when she is roped into donning the store’s antique Mrs. Claus outfit to play Mrs. Claus at Rossman’s famous Santaville, her life takes some unexpected turns. Through the help of the suit and the charming store Santa, Nick, Meredith rekindles her love of Christmas, the store, their employees and possibly even begins a new love with Nick. He is mysterious, great with children and always there when you need him. Just like the real Santa… wait… could he be? One thing is certain: from the moment Meredith put on the magical Mrs. Claus dress, her life would never be the same!
Home Fires (PBS, 8 p.m.): It’s the season finale for this minseries, which we haven’t had a chance to watch any of. So we’re just going to assume that murder is the answer to everyone’s problems. “A desperate Alison seeks a way out of her predicament.” The way out? Murder! “Miriam receives both bad and good news.” The bad news is she committed murder, the good news is no one knows she did! “Pat is freed from her husband’s tyranny.” The answer to her freedom? Murder! “Laura’s secret becomes known.” That secret… you guessed it, murder!
Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network, 8 p.m.): The episode description opens with “Spunky grandmothers compete” and yeah, we’re already done. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Indian Summers (PBS, 9 p.m.): “The British Club performs Oscar Wilde.” Hopefully it’s not “The Importance Of Being Earnest.” It’s a great play, but one that’s done to death. Why not “An Ideal Husband” or “A Woman Of No Importance?”
Cutthroat Kitchen (Food Network, 10 p.m.): Alton Brown’s reporting for duty this week with a military theme to the show, as “Four members of the Armed Services square off to make steak and eggs” and it’s “three cheers for a red, white and blue dessert challenge.” (And “it’s tanks but no tanks for one chef”, which is pun work that frankly we wish more of the countless cooking shows that air on Sundays would indulge in and make our jobs easier.) As so many things do, this reminds us of the late lamented Enlisted and that time there was a military cook-off where the meat being oddly sour won points.
Comic Book Men (AMC, 12 a.m.): “An eccentric collector comes seeking Walt’s help.” This is an AMC reality show, so we assume that every collector who comes through the shop doors is eccentric in their own special ways.
Dune (BBC America, 7 p.m.): I will not fear this David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic novel. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit this long, incomprehensible film to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path (i.e. read the original book, which is spectacular). Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Jack Reacher (FXX, 7 p.m.): “Reacher? I hardly knew her!” We hope you laughed at that joke, because that’s about the only laugh you’ll glean from this film whose protagonist neuters Tom Cruise’s charisma to produce an “unlikeable, unapproachable, mechanical process of a man.”
U.S. Marshals (IFC, 9 p.m.): It’s a shame The Player is Dead Show Walking at this point, because Wesley Snipes could use a successful TV show. Perhaps a reboot of his character from this sequel to The Fugitive, where he was a covert operative tracking down who was selling secrets to the Chinese government, would be easier to sell to audiences? Plus, a TV adaptation of a sequel to a film adaptation of a TV show would form an amusing media Möbius strip.
Dracula Untold (Cinemax, 9 p.m.): All of the blood-sucking with an emphasis on “suck,” yet another of the adaptations of a classic monster story with a modern special effects spin, and one of many agonized squawks that will continue to ensue until Universal finally creates its own Marvel-style monster universe.
Live Free Or Die Hard (Syfy, 9 p.m.): We have no idea why this movie is airing on Syfy, given that it has absolutely no science fiction elements to it. Well, other than the fantastical concept that Die Hard needed any more sequels and that no one—particularly Bruce Willis—sees the inherent problem in this franchise continuing to be a franchise.
Sunday Night Football, Eagles at Cowboys (NBC, 8:20 p.m.)
MLS Soccer Playoffs, Conference Semifinals (Fox Sports, 7:30 p.m.)
Master Of None: Aziz Ansari takes the leap from comedian and actor to television auteur, and Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is on the beat to watch this journey. The first episode sees him find some peace with a sandwich—or, as he called them in a past life, sammies, sandoozles, or Adam Sandlers.